Reading has always been a major part of my life. I love words. I love the pictures words can paint in my imagination. I love the worlds that I can enter through reading without the inconveniences of travel.
But I no longer enjoy reading as I once did. I’ve learned enough about writing and writing technique that I’m always editing – even published works.
In the last week, I’ve read two books (nameless here to protect the innocent) that had me getting out my figurative red pen. I saw words both misused and misspelled. I read sentences that were logically and grammatically incomplete or confusing.
This was both in self-published and traditionally published works. I can only assume our schools are falling short of training our new crop of editors.
If you are a writer, I concluded, you must ultimately be your own most severe editor. Your words are your precious children. You cannot blindly trust them to another.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an outside editor. You should. There is nothing more valuable than having a second, or even a third, set of eyes looking at what you thought you wrote.
After your manuscript comes back from the editor, put it aside for a short time. Then go through it with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. Try reading it backwards in paragraphs. Start with the last paragraph and go paragraph by paragraph, making certain that each paragraph can stand alone like a beautiful monument.
You are responsible for your words, your essay, your devotion, your book. It is a direct reflection of your heart and soul. Excellence is the minimum standard.
Do you have an editor?
How do you respond to edits in your manuscript?
Have you ever edited another person’s work?